I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of ageism. And even though I don’t feel comfortable revealing my age or how I’m currently feeling about the age I am, I need to start.
The irony of this is that I never thought I’d be one of those people who would avoid any talk of their age. I also never thought I’d be afraid to fly or that I would get cancer. But there you have it!
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, it took a long time before I could talk about my diagnosis with friends and family.
As if there was something to be ashamed about.
As if it was my fault that I’d gotten cancer or…gotten older.
Now, how silly is that? Definitely silly, but the feelings and the resulting effects are not silly.
This brings me to the classroom…
Teachers know that students learn at different rates and times. In fact, our students learn in spite of us and they don’t always learn what we’d hoped they would learn. Sometimes they learn a lot more.
And as much as we try to convey the sentiment that we are all unique and valuable, kids still manage to internalize the debilitating idea that they should be learning in the same way as their classmates. And, only those that learn the “average” way (think “young” here) are right or valued or smart.
Our society seems to think that once you reach a certain age you should have achieved certain things or be at a certain level in your chosen profession. For teachers, it’s all about being an administrator of some kind. But some of us either choose not to pursue that path or miss an opportunity somewhere along the way and don’t get “picked” for those roles. Or maybe we’re just not ready, until later, and that’s when societal biases may kick in.
You can probably read into this post that I am struggling, on a personal and professional level, with this issue. I feel like I still have a lot to offer, but that maybe it’s too late.
Intellectually, I know that is not true. Emotionally, I can’t shake the feeling that maybe I’m trying too hard. I don’t want to victimize myself either. Instead I am trying to be proactive by writing about it.
I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments section below. I will be revisiting this topic in the future.